Sunday, September 19, 2010

“Spa-ing” and the Metro Sexual Man

Oh, Good Griefman facial!  Men!  First off, have you noticed that as a man ages he becomes, “more distinguished?”  As the only girl growing up in a house full of males and again with male children in my own adult life, here’s what I know – men are looking in the mirror, too - a lot.  “Distinguished” or not, grown up men are concerned with graying strands, the hairbrush full of hairs turning loose, lines and wrinkles, as well as sagging skin everywhereWomen do not own that.  The difference is, most women don’t hesitate to do something about it.  From the local Wal-mart to the most exclusive med spa, women simply do it!  Encouraging news for men is that there are more and more comfortable options for them.  I have even been able to get my own manly man of a husband into a spa.  First time he went kicking and screaming.  Next time he actually asked to go.

Interesting news is that day spas are reporting that their male clientele has grown over thirty percent in recent years. You may be surprised to learn that this includes not only corporate-climbing, white-collar executives,  but the blue-collar gentleman as well. It seems men from every walk of life are now evolving to understand the benefits that women have reaped from visiting day spas for years.  Because many men have a tendency to feel intimidated or apprehensive about spending time or money on services that involve a type of upkeep that has traditionally been considered only female, spas have helped break this stereotype by creating new male-focused treatments and products.   I invite you to visit my booking site (  to see the Manly Man Menu.  I have named the services after actors you’ll recognize.  I offer THE JOHN WAYNE, THE CLINT EASTWOOD, THE SAM ELLIOTT and THE TOM SELLECK.  Just by naming the treatments in a non-threatening way the male client feels more comfortable about venturing in.

gpi I have written a previous blog about the different types of spas.  The resort or destination spa may choose to market themselves as a “health retreat” in an effort to breakdown  the female oriented stereotype of visiting a spa and offer packages geared especially for men that include golf, hiking, and other outdoor sports.  Now my husband would easily go for that!  I have mentioned THE GROVE PARK INN ( in previous blogs.  It is located just up the road in Asheville, NC – a pretty short drive up Interstate 26.  Their fabulous spa has a wonderful offering to the gents – they have 3+ amazing pools to attract macho type people – a salt water pool, a lap pool, and an outside “current” pool.  In addition, the plunge pools with the terrific waterfalls are absolutely wonderful as they beat down on tired backs and shoulders.  Nestled in the lovely NC mountains, GPI offers a great golf course, tennis, hiking etc.  Then there are the spa treatments themselves.  The key is just to get the men in to try one treatment and typically you have them hooked.  Seriously, my man stayed with me last time for several hours.  That is huge!

For men, the key is to eliminate most of the “fluff” stuff – and I say “most” because they do like pampering, too – just in a more subtle way.  I have found with my male clients, I just need to get to it – get it done.  Men want the same results as women just in a more condensed time.  I have one male client that when ever he calls to make the appointment says, “I have a few minutes to spare, early in the morning.  Can you work me in?”  What he is essentially saying to me is, “I like early morning before the spa gets busy and filled with a lot of women.  I want to get in and get out.” and most importantly, “I want this, need this, and hope you’ll respond to my needs.” 

 man microd The biggest example of the different offering in my practice for men and women is this:  I offer a lovely microdermabrasion facial treatment on my menu.  It doesn’t specify for women only, but it is a full hour with relaxing facial massage, masque and diamond microdermabrasion.  The description flows with yummy, appealing verbiage on the benefits of this superior spa treatment.  On the Manly Man Menu, I offer THE CLINT EASTWOOD  QUICKIE MICRODERM, a 30 minute cleansing, Diamond Microdermabrasion to remove imperfections, blemishes, wrinkles, cleans pores, and lighten hyperpigmentation followed with sunscreen application.  Short.  To the point. 

See, the thing is - men have skin.  No surprise in that.  Men have skin that ages just like women have skin that ages. Men are concerned with looking their best today and tomorrow.  This isn’t new.  What IS new is that they are finally doing something about it besides sneaking in their wives, girlfriends bathroom and covertly using their “stuff”. 

And you thought paying someone to help you look and feel your best was just for women?  Not anymore.  Males are having cosmetic surgery and injectables like Botox and dermal fillers more than ever before.  It’s OK.  I welcome the guys to visit me at m.d. Skin.  ( My treatment room isn’t pink and frilly.  It is calm and welcoming, and the services for male clients are essential and beneficial.

This is what I am thinking about today.  Just another day in my life - - -

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day . . . work hard but play (and laugh) harder

Reprint from 2010 It’s Labor Day 2010.

United States

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882
Main article: Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that falls on the first Monday of September.[5] It is customarily viewed as the end of the summer, especially of the vacation season;[6] many schools open for the year in the week after Labor Day.[7] The United States also adopted the tradition of not wearing white after Labor Day.[citation needed][clarification needed] This is the time when the Navy switches from their white uniforms to their Navy blue uniforms
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  To read more about the history of Labor Day here is a good link.
A day of celebration for workers is upon us, and that got me to thinking about today’s workforce.  I know I have had various jobs and then a long time career in the stressed-lady business world.  I know how hard people work and the stress workers are under.  Workers are constantly under pressure to produce, reports to be made, presentations to be given, numbers to achieve.  It is tough and many times it’s a dog-eat-dog workplace.  Yikes.  It’s no wonder we are a stressed out society.  After we “clock out” at the workplace, if you are a woman, wife, mother, your 2nd job begins.  We are suffering from both physical and mental fatigue.  
We’ve heard that stress will kill you.  That’s absolutely true.  We’ve all had the bosses from the depth’s of Hades, and as business owners, we'll, that’s a story unto it’s self. I have suffered headaches, back, shoulder and neck aches.  I know people that have suffered Irritable bowel syndrome from job stress.  One guy I know personally suffered a heart attack while on the jobsite. 
So what are the signs that you are suffering from over-stress?  There are many signs of stress overload – both physical and mental.
Common Physical Signs
  • Headache
  • Excessive Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal Changes
  • Change in Focus or Concentration
  • Sexual Changes – both increased or deceased desire
  • Sleep disturbances
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Hands Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Heart Palpitations
Common Mental Signs
  • Irritability
  • Change in eating habits – eating more or eating less
  • Harsh Temperament
  • Increase in smoking
  • Increase of alcohol consumption
  • Isolation
  • Compulsive Behavior like shopping or taking physical risks
  • Difficulty in Communication
Then their are soBad_Dreamme common indicators that often go overlooked
•  Weird, unpleasant dreams. When stressed, people sleep lighter and wake up more often, which disrupts the sleep process and allows negative dreams to hang around all night. When your mind gets overloaded with anxiety and doesn't know how to process it, a bad dream can be its way to work through the stressful experience so it becomes less threatening.
• An achy, sore mouth or jaw.  This can be a sign of teeth grinding, which some people do in their sleep when they’re experiencing a lot of stress. I know I am guilty of this when I am stressed out, as many people are.  Your dentist can make a mouth guard just for this.  I have one and, unfortunately, need to use it every night. On top of that, tension weakens your immune system which allows bacteria in your mouth to grow and eventually cause gum irritation and inflammation.
• Headaches hanging around even on the weekends. When stress levels suddenly drop, it often triggers a headache or even a migraine. When you spend your week stressed out and suddenly relax as the weekend comes, that headache could be telling you that something isn’t right with your stress levels and can help pinpoint what it is that’s stressing you out. 
• Severe period cramps. A study out of Harvard found that women under high levels of stress are 50% more likely to have severe menstrual cramps than those who are relaxed and report low stress levels.
And, of course, the most important issue related to stress in MY Business is how stress affects the skin.  Though stress has been known to trigger or aggravate existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, warts, cold sores, and blisters, it most commonly causes three specific skin reactions: hives, itching, and acne along with the appearance of aging skin.
Allergies are the most common cause of hives, but stress has been known to make hives appear as well. My BFF, Jenny has called me more than once in a panic saying, “I’m broken out in hives!” During times of stress, histamines are released into the bloodstream, which can cause hives or small bumps to appear on the skin. In some cases, the hives will not be noticeable, but the skin will be very itchy. Usually, an antihistamine or a soothing lotion will help.   If you know you are prone to this, I suggest keeping Benadryl handy.
Though these reactions are common, most people who are under stress will find themselves afflicted with acne. Stress releases certain chemicals within the body that stimulate sebaceous (oil) glands. The excess sebum tends to clog pores and irritate skin, causing acne to form.
During times of stress, the flow of blood is directed to areas of the body that are considered vital for responding to the stress that we are under. At the same old women mask time, blood is withdrawn from areas that are considered non-essential, such as, unfortunately, your skin. Bear in mind that the skin is the largest organ of your body and one of the most sensitive areas, as well. During times of stress, the skin is constantly being starved of both blood and oxygen, which causes the skin to take on a dull and lifeless appearance resulting in tired, old, ageing looking skin.
In addition to changing the skin’s natural appearance, continuous stress can increase cortisone secretion, which suppresses our immune system. Once the skin’s defense is lowered, it becomes extremely susceptible to irritation from outside pollutants.
Since stress also affects more than just our immune system, it may impact the body’s ability to properly digest food (the GI problems in our list above). This can impact the health of the skin, as well as the health of the entire body. When food is not properly digested, the nutrients are not absorbed as they should be, allowing undigested impurities to remain and accumulate in the body.
So what’s a sane person to do to tackle all this stress in our normal lives?  Learn to laugh at yourself. You'll overcome so many problems in life and you'll deal with stress so much more easily if you can develop a sense of humor.  A sense of humor is essential for handling the stresses of life. The ability to find something funny in times of tension and stress is an essential key to dealing with difficult situations.  Yeah, I know.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.  Sometimes you just need a cry, scream, kick or punch something.  Well, go ahead!  Do it!  Just not to someone.  I gave my son a hammer one time and told him to go whack a tree outside till he felt better.  Poor tree! 
I’ve written before on personal wellness and about how therapeutic a facial with massage can be.  That one hour can seriously help with the symptoms of your stress.  Just by getting the oxygen and blood pumping back into your face, neck and shoulders can be a huge relief to your skin and overall well being.  The massage with properly applied acupressure can be amazing to a stress out individual.
thank-you Tomorrow, when you go back to work think back to this blog.  Remember to laugh loud and often. Keep your stress in check by the simple act of counting to ten before you reply to someone.  Keep your voice low – just right above whisper level.  Breathe in . .  . breathe out.  Deep and slow.  Each breath pulling your stomach into your spine.  In through your nose.  Slowly release through your mouth.  Then . . . make your appointment with me!  Really, I can help!
Here’s to all the millions of people that keep our lives moving – the folks we rarely see and if we do, even more rarely show appreciation.  Our postal workers, the garbage people, the utility workers.  Thank you.  And to those who’s path we cross daily, you keep our world turning.  To you, whatever your job.  I appreciate you.  God Bless each American Worker and here’s to putting more  people back to work real soon!
My thoughts this Labor Day . . . just another day in my life!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thoughts on my business - - -


I’m 5 months old.  Never thought I would already be in a position of expansion, change of direction, or personal conflict so early in the game.  Nothing bad, mind  you, but lots of thoughts pinging around in my pea brain.  I was approached last night with the possibility of change involving a physician.  This change would allow me to offer medical procedures like Botox injections, fillers, lasers, and other physician assisted treatments.  Yes, this is something I have thoknocking on doorught about.  Since I have a medical background and am comfortable in a medical setting, this wouldn’t be such a stretch.  Hum . . . what do you think, my peeps?  Would anyone want to receive these services in my little baby, fledgling practice?  Too soon?  Maybe.  I don’t know.

In previous post,  you have read about my intention to add massage services.  The “right” massage therapist hasn’t knocked at my door . . . yet.   It would so completely fabulous to be able to offer full spa packages.  Imagine having an amazing deep cleansing and refreshing facial, de-toxing body wrap, relaxing full body massage, and end with delicious mani/pedi.  Right now packages are incomplete without massage, and, boy!  This girl LOVES a massage herself!

Adding massage therapy means a lot of changes.  Moving, for one.  Not necessarily to a different geographic location (hopefully), but into a different location within SABRE.  This wonderful place houses the master stylists, Sally, Brenda (thus SaBre), Joy, Jenny, Darlene and Andrea.  They are all so talented and wonderful women, to boot!  THE PERFECT 10 consists of probably the best nail artist in the State, Terry, as well as Mary and Pat.  I added m.d. Skin to the mix in May of this year.  So, together we offer hair services, nail services and skincare.  See a glaring omission?  Massage.  Massage is the only thing missing from full service.  Oh . . . hum!  Timing is everything.  Right now, Sabre is working on repair of the nail salon - Ceiling melt down several months ago.The nail girls have been working up front within the salon.  This has been a kind of good change.  It seems to have added a certain spark of electricity. 

So . . . since this move of the nail business from the back to the front, I have been approached about moving my practice from the center of the building to the 00213535 very back room.  This MIGHT be a good thing.  The room is much bigger and I could add a shower for wet treatments.  It also means more money for room improvements.  I’m only 5 months old.  There isn’t any money (yet) for doing these things.  I could come up with it, but . . . is it the right time to do this? 

THE PERFECT TEN is weighing their options, too.  Stay where they are?  Go back where they were?  Changes.  Changes.  Changes. 

If I add massage therapy, it would require room sharing or more build out.  Again, spending more money.  It would increase business, but I’m still building my own portion with skincare.  Unless a therapist comes with clientele I have to consider could m.d. Skin support a brand new person just starting out?  Of course, this missing massage therapist would have to be a very special individual in order to join this team.  Talented?  Sure.  But a good mix to us is vital.  No drama wanted here.  Just superior ability, high integrity, respectful of other business within our walls, and over all fabulous!  Not too much to ask.  Right?  Am I dreaming?  Maybe, but if one doesn’t dream, and dream big (!), well . . . what’s the point?

In addition, there is opportunity to go into partnership within an existing medical practice.  I tell you about this only because the opportunity exist.  I really am not even entertaining the idea.  It’s just another piece of the story.

Conflicts!  I hate conflicts!  Why can’t we all just get along and support/encourage one another?  When I started m.d. Skin I had a Facebook Fan page for the business.  I was advised to shut down the fan page and create a Facebook page just for m.d. Skin.  I did that,  as well as a terrific website (, and I am very proud of it, thanks to Fowler Creative Online (  She has my personal FB page linked to the m.d. Skin FB page.  Well (!) it seemed to me that it was the smartest thing to have them both  (business and personal) promoting m.d. Skin.  In hindsight I should have sent a message to everyone telling them that I was deleting personal contacts and to “re-friend” me if they wanted to stay on my friends contact list.  I didn’t do that and some people are mad, upset, whatever you want to call it.  Most people, in fact, simply sent a new friend request and all is well.  Some, however, won’t speak to me because of “de-friending.” Really?  Over Facebook? 

Here’s something interesting relating to that . . . last year my FB was hacked into and my FB was shut down BY FACEBOOK.  Took about 2 or 3 months to get back up.  I lots just about all my FB friends.  Not a single person got mad.  I did get lots of questions like, “What happened?  I thought we were already friends.”  “Hey!  did you delete me?”  But most  just send another friend request without any questions or comments. 

The silliness of some people is just amazing!  Losing real friends because of Facebook communications is beyond reason!  Sounds more like an excuse if you ask me.  What do you think? Starting a new business is stressful enough without this added drama.00424427

You will find people that will support and encourage you through thick and thin.  I have been so surprised and thrilled by some people that I never expected to, that have become wonderful clients.  I have also met some interesting and delightful new people as a result of m.d. Skin.  It’s just so darn sad to learn that there are some people you thought were loyal and true friends that just aren’t there for you.  I guess really that the saying “That’s life!” is true.  Live and learn.  It does hurt though, I won’t lie!  I think that this is personal growth . . . at it’s finest.

My goal is to offer the absolute best skincare in a personal and individual way, in a fresh, relaxing and clean environment, with integrity and commitment to each client that visits my practice.  I commit to trying my utmost to exceed expectations every time.  Change is positive and inevitable.  The question is, “When?”   I want to make good, healthy decisions regarding my business, my family, my life. 

The good thing is that no decisions have to be made today.  Thank goodness!  These are some of my thoughts today . . . just another day in my life!

5 Essential Keys to Wellness (

5 Essential Keys to Wellness

Spa experts share their tips for reaching your health potential—and getting there might be easier than you think.

by Isabelle Gullo


Enlarge Photo

Photo by: Marili Forastier/Getty Images

1. Eat Wholesome Food

A healthy diet not only boosts overall wellness but also helps prevent disease. According to physician and alternative health proponent Andrew Weil (who regularly holds wellness-related seminars at Miraval Arizona and is the mind behind the anti-inflammatory diet), a range of illnesses—including heart disease, arthritis, and some cancers—are partly caused by chronic inflammation in the body.

“While genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors like stress and lack of exercise promote inflammation, poor diet is the main contributor,” stresses Weil. Consequently, he recommends consuming foods that help reduce inflammation and improve immune function. For instance, berries, oranges, tomatoes, kale, and spinach contain disease-fighting antioxidants. Slow-to-digest, whole-grain carbohydrates like oats, whole wheat, barley, and brown rice are also on his list of ideal foods because they provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. In addition, Weil suggests eating cold-water fish—which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, and joint pain—as well as vegetable proteins like beans, nuts, lentils, and fermented whole soy products. “These contain healthier fats and fewer toxins than most animal proteins,” he says. 

2. Choose the Right Beverages

Registered dietitian Wendy Bazilian, head of the nutrition program at Golden Door in Escondido, California, and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, notes that hydration is vital for most bodily functions. Although water is best, for more flavorful options she suggests all-natural beverages that are largely water-based and free of artificial sweeteners to avoid drinking empty calories. 

Those with a sweet tooth should skip sodas in favor of organic juices or fruit smoothies, which are ripe with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For everyday refreshment, Bazilian likes a mocktail with coconut water, tart cherry juice, sparkling water, and a squeeze of lime. “It’s all-natural, low in calories, less sweet than juices or sodas, and even comes with some electrolytes,” she says.

Low-fat and nonfat milk also get Bazilian’s thumbs up because they pack essential nutrients, protein, and carbs to provide energy; potassium to balance blood pressure; and calcium and vitamin D to strengthen bones. Unsweetened almond milk, though not as nutrient-rich as regular milk, is a good nondairy, low-calorie alternative. 

3. Boost Health With Essential Nutrients

Even if the majority of foods you eat are unprocessed or certified organic, you’re probably not getting all you need from your diet. Supplements and medicinal plant ingredients can help bridge the gap. 

Leslee Vogal, nutritionist and herbalist at Mii amo, a destination spa at Enchantment, suggests taking a high-quality, food-based multivitamin daily. In addition, she recommends that healthy adults get at least 1,000 to 2,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids for brain and heart health; 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 to improve bone strength, mood, cognitive function, and endocrine balance; and 200 to 400 mg of magnesium to support the nervous system and promote muscle relaxation.

Botanicals and spices also offer healing benefits. For example, numerous studies on echinacea have shown it helps alleviate cold symptoms and respiratory infections, while ginger has been proved to significantly reduce nausea, especially in pregnant women. And antioxidant-loaded rosemary, turmeric, thyme, garlic, and ginger come with endless wellness perks, from enhancing memory to balancing blood glucose levels to increasing heart health. 

Adaptogens are among Vogal’s herbal musts; these plants build the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue. Her favorites: ashwagandha, astragalus, and reishi and miatake mushrooms. Still, before deciding what supplements to take, consult a registered dietitian or a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to find out what works best for you.

4. Work Out for Multiple Payoffs

No health regimen is complete without exercise. A good workout—whether it’s a power walk through the park, an uphill bike ride, or an elliptical session at the gym—can improve mood, strengthen the heart and lungs, reduce stress, and promote weight loss, to name a few perks. 

“Do cardio for at least forty minutes three days a week at sixty-five to eighty-five percent of your maximum heart rate,” recommends Kirkland Shave, program director, life coach, and trainer at Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa in British Columbia. For a balanced routine, include 20 minutes of resistance training twice a week, doing pushups, squats, and core work such as Pilates to build muscle, maintain bone density, and promote good posture. 

To reap additional benefits, exercise outdoors: The fresh air cleanses your lungs by bringing more oxygen into the body, which helps to improve energy and bring clarity. Plus, notes Shave, “The natural beauty will inspire you to stick to your routine.” 

5. Calm the Mind With Meditation

Spiritual health is just as important as diet and exercise. Meditation in particular can lower stress and help regulate emotions. It has also been proved to restore brain synapses, as happens naturally during sleep. 

Anne Irving, a yoga therapist and wellness consultant at Lake Austin Spa Resort, suggests exploring different types of meditation, including seated meditation for those who prefer to practice alone, moving meditation like yoga and tai chi for active people in search of stress relief, or guided meditation for beginners and those who thrive in a group setting. 

Irving adds that like choosing healthy foods or working out at the gym, meditation should be a daily practice. “Every single day we can tone our bodies, train our brains, and stretch our self-awareness,” she says

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